Programmable on-chip DNA compartments as artificial cells

Eyal Karzbrun, Alexandra M. Tayar, Vincent Noireaux, Roy H. Bar-Ziv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


The assembly of artificial cells capable of executing synthetic DNA programs has been an important goal for basic research and biotechnology. We assembled two-dimensional DNA compartments fabricated in silicon as artificial cells capable of metabolism, programmable protein synthesis, and communication. Metabolism is maintained by continuous diffusion of nutrients and products through a thin capillary, connecting protein synthesis in the DNA compartment with the environment. We programmed protein expression cycles, autoregulated protein levels, and a signaling expression gradient, equivalent to a morphogen, in an array of interconnected compartments at the scale of an embryo. Gene expression in the DNA compartment reveals a rich, dynamic system that is controlled by geometry, offering a means for studying biological networks outside a living cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-832
Number of pages4
Issue number6198
StatePublished - Aug 15 2014


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